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Why Aren’t You Indie Publishing?

Isn’t it time to start thinking about self publishing? Let’s talk practicality. Indie authors make 45-50% of profit off each book. Not 5-15% as in the case of publishing the traditional route. Think of all that money! I suppose when making the case it is wise to make a cost per service argument. In other words, what exactly do you get for your money with a larger publisher? Do you get PR? Maybe… for an added price? And what about Marketing? Depends. Do you have an online following? What about social media? Are you connected? Are you infamous? Already published? Have a footprint? Unknown authors have a much harder time getting their work the proper attention than say a fluffy former Governor’s ghost written novel. How do you compete when the emphasis is on slick covers and pre-sales? How do you garner pre-sales when nobody knows who you are? It’s a lot like little league. If you haven’t got someone in your corner will you ever get your chance at bat? Probably not. Let’s talk content… did you know most major publishing contracts stipulate full editorial rights and content control?  So your book gets published but its so drastically changed it is hardly recognizable. Why should an author have to be placed in such a compromised position? Thanks to the internet and small press publishing options, authors can have more artistic control than ever. Though we must remember to use it wisely. How you ask? By making sure your book is 100 percent ready for print. Editing, proofing, rewrites, etc, to make your book ready. Sometimes that can take years.  Even then, with all of your hard work you aren’t guaranteed success. And isn’t there an omnipotent lesson of J.K. Rowling’s last book. The one where she uses a pseudonym and barely sells a book. She had an agent, a publisher, a team of lawyers, you name it; all in place to make her book a success. And yet it wasn’t. I keep reading it was proof that it’s more difficult for an unknown author to generate an audience. I don’t believe that. While clearly an interesting writer, Rowling’s latest effort simply wasn’t compelling. Remember positive reviews and sales came only after her true identity was revealed. Famous name or not, it’s the story stupid. Now, lets take, Tinkers by Paul Harding. By Rowling’s standards Harding seemed to do everything wrong. The book was published by a small publisher (Bellevue Literary Press). Without presence, footprint or a team of people behind him, his book still managed to find an audience. Much like Rowling’s first book, simple word of mouth is all it took to propel this poignant story to finding an audience. Oh, and did I mention it won the Pulitzer Prize. Take that Harry Potter. So now can we talk Indie publishing?